In January 2008, two men met in “The Gospel, the World and Cities” class at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the City of Boston, Massachusetts. They found that they had something in common – a calling to minister to international immigrants in southern NH.
On God’s timing, Saturday afternoon, the 4th of October in 2008, people united under the grace of God, met to seek His face. They came to Immaculee and Disi’s basement in southern Manchester. They came originally, years before, from Rwanda and Cameroon and Congo – Aime, Arlette and Emmanuel, Alain, Chantal, Straton, Alfonsine, Regine, and Mama Julienne, and their children – they had come from many places, but they were united as they prayed for the City of Manchester.
That very same afternoon of Saturday, the 4th of October, 2008, an Africa Inland Mission meeting was occurring in a home in Manchester. They prayed about the future direction of missionaries who had just returned from 4 years of mission work in Kenya, and did not know where the Lord would have them minister next. Just before parting, Jim Harding mentioned two Gordon Conwell Seminary students that he was aware were praying about starting an international church in Manchester. He left to find the contact information. And the Shannons just praised God!
In mid November, Kevin Shannon went to Immaculee’s basement meeting for the first time. He was excited to find kindred spirits all in a circle singing and praying, seeking God together. And he knew then, that he and Karen had found their next international ministry – he knew that this was yet another time that God’s promise was proven: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
As time passed, we were led to establish a church in Manchester. We agreed that “Covenant of Promise Christian Fellowship” would be our name, and began the process of founding an official church. We created a mission statement, a statement of faith, Bylaws and Articles of Agreement. And we began looking for a place to meet on Sundays. Once when we were worshiping, Aime and Alain took a phrase from a chorus we were singing – “Hands to Do, Hearts to Love” for our church motto, and Gabrielle Shannon then created the logo, which we wore on shirts in the Manchester Veteran’s Park in late August 2009 as we advertised the opening of our new church.
It was exactly one year later – Sunday afternoon, the 4th of October, 2009 – when we held our first service at this location, after Faith Baptist Church welcomed us, with very reasonable terms. It was wonderful to be together worshipping on Sunday at last! And the Lord brought us new people. After months of prayer, Mama Julienne’s husband, Simon, and their boys, finally came from Rwanda, and began fellowshipping with us. In July, sister Sherry, originally from Indonesia, joined us as well. And in August, brother Jerusalem and his family, originally from Nigeria, came one Sunday. The Lord brought us all together. We were born in many different places – from three continents – but we came with open hearts, for the Lord to unite us in His love, and with hands ready to be used for His purposes.